Sports Competitors: Eating Disorders

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 28th October 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Parminter Baroness Parminter Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the BBC Panorama programme Sport's Hidden Crisis, broadcast on 19 October, what discussions they have had with UK Sport regarding (1) minimising the risks of competitors developing eating disorders, and (2) supporting those with them.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Athlete welfare is vitally important to all sports, and my department works closely with UK Sport to strengthen policy in this area wherever possible. UK Sport is committed to ensuring that athlete welfare is at the heart of all Olympic and Paralympic sports and the national governing bodies (NGBs) they fund. UK Sport has a dedicated integrity unit and conducts an annual Culture Health Check survey that monitors athlete welfare and enables any issues to be picked up and addressed.

In terms of providing care and support to individuals with an eating disorder, UK Sport works in partnership with the English Institute of Sport (EIS). In 2018 the EIS and UK Sport announced a Mental Health Strategy for the high performance system aimed at ensuring that all people within it have the best opportunity to have positive mental health, and high quality care when required. The Mental Health Referral Programme (MHRP) provides specialist primary and secondary care services to elite athletes who are struggling with a wide range of mental health issues including depression, stress, anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and addictions.

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